Friday, May 30, 2008
A major problem for the broad based environmental movement is the apparent outstanding issues in alternative energy. The rush to ethanol as a national panacea has faded in the dim reality of cost. Simply put, it is not creating an energy profit. As Mr. Wall Street Fighter succintly states, " It take 7.3 pounds of soybean oil to make 1 gallon of ethanol. And it's how much per pound, 63 cents? Add in processing cost..." Adding to the problem is the question of what happens when you use all your food to make fuel? Our national attention span will not tolerate failures. However, it would be a tremendous mistake to discount the viability of biofuels. Brazil has shown the world that sugarcane can power a large nation, but their success did not come overnight. It took the better part of a decade, a luxury our procrastination no longer affords us. With gas prices rising, along with practically everything else, the urgency is palpable. But another Cleaverism proves telling again, "haste makes waste." In our hurry to become self sustainable we might have taken a wrong turn. We must not let "going green" become a fading fad, but rather we must instill those Depression era fears in our youth. Sometimes the fear of losing it all brings out the best in people.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The next event to shape America's future in 1988 was the July 3 Iran Air Flight 655, shot down by the U.S.S. Vincennes. Mistaken for an attacking military plane, the civilian aircraft was hit by guided missiles killing all 290 on board. The Iranian government disputes this explanation to this day, and many Iranians hold the U.S. in contempt for this reason, among others. The Vincennes was in the area as a support vessel during the ongoing Iran-Iraq war. Began in 1980, the border skirmish between unfriendly neighbors lasted until 1988. Despite losing 37 by Iraqi plane attack, the U.S. remained focused on Iran. The civilians deaths prompted Iran to back off and eventually the conflict rested. Despite the resolution; anger and resentment in Iran continued to sear the populace with anti-Western beliefs.
Rule #1: No Banana Hammocks: Even if you're cut like a young Arnold, this suit does nothing but embarrass you and all those you encounter.
Rule #2: Remember the Zubaz: Whenever you are picking out your styling gear for an afternoon at the beachside bar, don't forget about your predecessors in interest. Zubaz might have rocked back in the day, but take a hard look at yourself and see if you're wearing a post-millennium version right now.
Rule #3: Cover up the bad tattoos: The above example is hardly an example of one that needs covering, but too good to pass up. Most bad tattoos can be summed up thusly, unoriginal design, unoriginal place.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Notre Dame Tradition: Once could fill a Golden Dome with it, Knute Rockne, The Four Horseman, Win One for the Gipper, The Golden Boy, Rudy, Touchdown Jesus and more. Notre Dame's early national exposure continues to directly benefit the program today. Many programs have been around just as long, and even won more games, but Notre Dame still corners the market on college football tradition. Others have legitimate traditions of their own, but few command the advantage in recruiting, fan loyalty, and exposure that stems from the storied past of the Irish.
Miami Hurricanes Speed, Swagger, and Pro-Style Offenses: Beginning with Howard Schnellenberger in the early 80's and flourishing under Jimmy Johnson, the Hurricanes introduced a new brand of football to ABC Saturdays. Most telling was the unparalleled team speed that produced immediate sustained success for a once moribund program. High school safeties and running backs were converted to linebackers and former linebackers turned into fearsome rush ends. The Canes also innovated on offense, after Schnellenberger installed a Pro-Style passing attack that made stars out of Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Steve Walsh, and more recently Gino Torretta and Ken Dorsey. However it is their controversial use of intimidation and swagger that turned the college football on its ear. Once universally staid, college football had never before seem the taunting, celebrating and emotion of the Canes. Unquestionably an advantage after setting the longest home winning streak in NCAA history , the Canes have been mimicked by others, but never matched. Most notably FSU employed faster players and Pro-Style with success, but 5 national championships to 2, proves the indomitable advantage enjoyed by the "U."
Florida Gators Innovation: Ever since Bear Bryant famously referred to the Gators as a "sleeping giant," they have awoken. From it's athletic department to offenses, the Gators have done things their way and had astounding success. Beginning with Gatorade, and continuing with text messaging Urban Meyer, the Gators have been ahead of the curve. Relying on organized and generous alumni and booster groups, the UF Athletic Department is well funded and the results have shown. Simultaneous football and basketball championships are no fluke, the Gators are a marvel of innovation and commitment.
Nebraska Power: Ever since Nebraska became the first athletic department to have a full time strength coach in 1969, the Huskers have been synonymous with muscle. For nearly 40 years Boyd Epley took chubby farm boys and turned them into linebacker mauling monsters, paving the way for legions of fleet backs. The Huskers were among the first to have a state-of-the-art weight training facilities and the dedication has paid off. Once perennially among the NCAA leaders in team rushing, the Huskers have since abandoned this one-time advantage and suffered as a result. Other programs caught up quickly, but up to the late 90's the Big Red maintained a reputation for producing physically imposing teams. Returning to their strong suit would go along towards pointing Nebraska in the right direction.
Virginia Tech's Grassroots Growth: Since Frank Beamer took over in 1987, the Hokies have clawed their way to the upper echelon of college football. Largely through persistence and grit, VA Tech stands as a model of the meritocracy that is college football. Once a loser, Beamer turned the Hokies around by building fan loyalty and creating the culture of "Beamerball." Other hard luck teams have had more stunning turnarounds, Northwestern in 1995, and similar successes, Kansas State, but none have made the total transformation to perennial juggernaut. By paying attention to details, and instilling a blue-collar work ethic, Beamer and the Hokies are an example of a school elbowing its way to the head table.
Southern Cal Glamour: USC has glamour of both old school and new school appeal. Once buoyed by the beauty of cheerleaders in tight sweaters, and the majesty of their noble steed Traveler, the Trojans have recently updated their allure. Beginning with Pete Carroll's hiring in 2001, USC has set the standard for the modern program. First and foremost, Carroll represents a new breed of coaches far removed from the gruffness of Woody Hayes and the like. Gregarious, outgoing, and youthful, Pete Carroll has infused his personality into the program. No wonder the recruiting hauls keep coming, having a coach as the current benchmark of the "player's coach," makes for easy fishing. USC benefits from the absence of a local NFL team to compete for weekend headlines and as a result, stars like Matt Leinart, and Reggie Bush have furthered the allure of the Trojans. All of this adds up to a team that will continue to roll thanks to national exposure courtesy of old school glamour and Pete Carroll's appeal.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Though formidable in their own right, and braced for a fight, Obama and his Party face a dangerous opponent. As the Swift Boat Veterans proved, well funded special interest groups can alter the course of a national election. Political science has never been so technical, voting districts and polling numbers can be crunched and analyzed in endless ways. By carefully targeting their message, groups can achieve maximum impact in crucial districts. This tactic was renewed this weekend when South Floridians opened their Thursday papers. As Obama stopped by Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties for a 3 day swing, the Republican machine stepped up to the plate.
A full page ad by the Republican Jewish Coalition took a strong stance against Obama for his alleged softness for Palestinian plight. The ad goes on to question Obama’s belief in unconditional sit downs with world leaders, friend and foe. With pinpoint precision, the GOP special interests groups have selected an essential target. South Florida is a crucial battleground for Florida’s 25 Electoral College votes. More specifically, it is the home of several groups of voters with unique concerns. Maintaining America’s largest Jewish and Cuban Diasporas, South Florida will undoubtedly influence the course of the next election. Obama’s speech about Cuba and his future plans for the island on Friday will likely go a long way to converting some of the often loyal Cuban GOPists. However, the Jewish population seems to be a tougher audience. Other battlegrounds remain crucial to the outcome of the election, but few feature a trickier, more multinational populace than South Florida. The attacks will get dirty and personal, but this time the Dems won't get caught with their pants down. More savvy this time, the attacks will fly both ways as the fall draws near. Voters will have to navigate a sea of sharks and jellyfish, hopefully the policy issues stay above the fray, and not disguised by attack ads.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
His lyrics from "Talkin World War III Blues" speak of today's climate as well:
"All the people can be half right some of the time,
Some of the people can be all right part of the time.
But all the people can't be all right all the time.
Abraham Lincoln said that.
I'll let you be in my dream, if I can be in yours,
I said that."
The actual quote attributed to Lincoln is: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
Friday, May 23, 2008
Apparently not everyone thought the bald eagle was the appropriate symbol of the United States. In a letter written in 1784 to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin dissents:
In terms of predatory behavior, Franklin is mostly right on describing eagle's methods. Eagles are carrion eaters, yet also scoop fish out of lakes and large rivers on their own merit. They have been known for stealing another's lunch, giving them the unsavory reputation Franklin complains of. However eagles and wild turkeys are natural residents of North America, so his nativity argument is weak. Other differences between the birds make the turkey less appealing as our national symbol. The immediate pro for the eagle is its commanding presence and imposing size. The clucking and waddling turkey seems docile in comparison. Turkeys are simple omnivore foragers, so their eating habits add little symbolic presence to counteract the image of a swift strike by an eagle. Juxtaposing their ability to fly is one physical attribute that the turkey measures up favorably. Wild turkeys have a quick trigger to flight and can reach 50 mph. Whereas the eagle, easily visualized soaring mightily, often only reaches 45 MPH in the air. Sexually the eagle mates the old fashioned way, males fly home to impress the ladies with calls, and displays of physical prowess. The turkey's sexual appetite is decidedly less appealing, while they do strut their stuff, they are avid polygamists. Managing a few mates at once, the turkey is a better symbol of the early Mormon church and it's current nutty sects in the Southwest.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The Designated Hitter position is every selfish kid's dream. Whether it be kickball, Wiffleball, or baseball, hitting is pure fun. MLBers like Papi get to sit around the dugout for a few hours and take a few practice hacks every now and then. About every 30 minutes you get to bat, but never have to run out to the field afterwards. Unlike punters, the DH offers ample opportunity for glory, and a likelihood of being one the highest paid players on the team. However much of what makes punting appealing applies to DH, minimized risk of injury, along with a diminished need for physical exertion.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Door to door religious advocates. Whether Mormon, Jehovah's Witnesses, or others, when you hear the knock and open the door to several smiling faces, it's never a good thing. The success rate must be rather low, and the level of rudeness must be high. Much as they are not interested in hearing my religious beliefs, I am not interested in hearing theirs.
Zealots and Fundamentalists. Does advocating in the above manner actually help one's cause? A gay computer scientist from WWII helped create the early computer, and that makes all computers homo devil machines. If it ever became clear that Johann Gutenburg was gay, this lady would be screwed.
Sports fans that don't own a mirror. This could be a gentleman from a number of schools, imagining Bama gear over this Sooner instead proves the point. Sports fans can dress like Tony Romo can sing.